Posted on: February 11, 2024
We’ve all seen brands we love update their logos, slogans and even their names. Rebranding can be a great way to reflect changes to your business or marketplace — but a rebrand is a big project, and it takes hard work to reap the benefits.
Paula Slayton and Derek Slayton of Trampoline Advertising & Design Co. are experts at guiding clients through rebrands. They also know when to guide clients away from rebrands. Their candor, expertise and passion for the industries in which they work give Trampoline a competitive edge in the agency world.
“The truth is, your brand is your promise,” Paula says. “You have to keep looking inward to make sure that the promise you’re making still holds water a year later, two years later, three years later.” If your company is no longer delivering on its original promise, it may be time for a rebrand.
On episode 251 of The PR Maven® podcast, I spoke with Paula and Derek about when to consider a rebrand, what rebranding really is and how they handle the roller coaster of agency ownership.
When to rebrand (and when not to)
Organizations have historically come to Trampoline for rebranding in moments of transition, such as a leadership change or the release of a new product.
Derek notes that the rise of social media is leading companies to consider rebranding even when there isn’t an obvious inflection point. Organizations can now tell when their audience is not talking about them, he says. Social makes it easier to understand your position in the marketplace — and if that’s changed, he says, “that’s an ideal time to look at your brand strategy.”
Your position in the marketplace depends on both internal and external factors, Paula says. “Has your staff changed? Has your area of interest changed? Has the economy changed?” she asks. If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” it may be time to take your brand in a new direction.
On the other hand, a rebrand doesn’t make sense for companies that don’t have internal alignment on how their brand needs to evolve. Derek tells the story of a brewery that reached out to Trampoline for a rebrand.
“As we got to know them more, it became apparent that they just were not ready for a brand refresh,” Derek says, explaining that there were obvious disagreements among the company’s stakeholders. “You have to make sure that you’re on the same page,” he adds.
Paula notes that it also takes work to make a rebrand succeed. “You can fix the brand and make it look pretty,” Paula says. “But you have to do the work on the back end to make sure you’re delivering on that promise.”
Rebranding: It’s more than just a new logo
Derek and Paula know that brand marketers love their jargon. “It’s almost its own vernacular,” Derek admits. People outside of the brand world don’t always know the difference between a logo, a mark and a brand identity.
Ultimately, the scope of a rebrand depends on a client’s audience and how they reach them. For example, Trampoline created a brand strategy guide for a ski resort to use as it grows and expands. Derek describes this as the resort’s “north star document” that helps with everything from making strategic decisions to empowering employees to serve as ambassadors during the off season.
The guide provides employees with common language about the resort, its audience and why visitors choose it. With a shared understanding of the mountain’s mission, Derek says, “everyone’s reading from the same cue card.”
Creating connections with clients in good times and bad
There are many brand agencies out there, so what makes organizations such as the Adirondack Council or snow resorts across the Northeast trust Trampoline?
Paula and Derek agree that their agency’s competitive edge is its staff. “Every one of our employees puts 100% into the work that they do,” Paula says.
That’s due at least in part to the fact that Trampoline is selective about its clients. The agency focuses on industries that reflect their team’s interests and passions, including healthcare, tourism, hospitality and higher education. Derek believes that having a team that’s so passionate about what they’re working on creates “a connection that’s very hard to get anywhere else.”
That client connection is especially important when the economic climate is uncertain. As a possible recession looms, Paula and Derek are looking to the primary lesson they learned during the COVID-19 pandemic: “You can’t take your foot off the gas,” Paula says. “The minute you take your foot off the gas, you’re behind.”
With many clients in the outdoor recreation industry, Trampoline was initially hit hard by the pandemic. Several clients canceled or paused their contracts. But instead of cutting off communication, Derek and Paula kept in touch.
“They needed us to be ready to pivot when the government said they could pivot,” Paula explained. “By maintaining those relationships, we came out on the other side stronger.”
Paula and Derek look to relationships during good times as well as challenging ones. To celebrate Trampoline’s recent 20th anniversary, they created a poster featuring all of their logos from the past 20 years and sent it to past clients along with a handwritten note. “You can’t underestimate the power of reaching out,” Paula says.
Ultimately, it’s about being passionate about what you’re selling, Derek says. “There are times when the roller coaster has you in heart palpitations,” he says. But if you’re genuinely excited about who you work with and what you do, your passion will show through, helping you land clients and retain their loyalty for years to come.
This is based on episode 251 of The PR Maven® Podcast, a podcast hosted by Nancy Marshall. Weekly interviews feature industry leaders, top executives, media personalities and online influencers to give listeners a peek into the world of public relations, marketing and personal branding. Subscribe through Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.